I’m Christine Castro Hughes, a designer, writer, and mother of two darling children. I also run a graphic design studio out of my charming, crooked craftsman house. Brunch is my blog. More »
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ahoy, mati!

I first met artist Mati Rose McDonough several years ago at sushi. "Hi," she said, "I'm Mati." She must get asked about her name a lot because she quickly added, "Like Ahoy, Matey!" I have gotten to enjoy several more meals with Mati over the years, and yes, and she is just as delightful as her artwork suggests. Colorful, warm, bold, and friendly.

The icing on the cake? Last year, she asked me to redesign her website. The new site houses her bursting portfolio, info about the classes she teaches and her new book coming out this summer, and an inspiring blog. It just launched this week, so check it out


saying "yes" to adventure

Friday is the day I spend solo with the kids, and because I am not really a homebody I like to take them out of the house and on some kind of adventure, even if it just means going to Trader Joe's or our favorite kid-friendly coffee shop. We like to go on play dates, too, but I've recently discovered that impromptu gatherings are the best for me and my friends and our unpredictable munchkins. In the past month alone saying "yes" to last-minute adventure has taken us to gelato dates, brunch at our friends' house, and walks to the park. So when we were invited out last Friday, I knew what I had to say. 

With kids in tow, Henry, Maira, and I ventured off to the downtown LA arts district to visit the Geronimo Balloons studio. Henry wasn't so sure about the neighborhood as walked from the car to the nondescript brick building, but once we entered Jihan's gorgeous and colorful space, he was in heaven. So was I.

We met old friends and new friends, and Henry had an encounter with a very big and cheerful pink balloon. The day was complete with a lunch at Urth Cafe and a surprise visit to our friends at Poketo, too. Thanks to Jihan, Ted, and Angie for opening their doors to our rambunctious crew.


love letters

When Rama and I first met, he lived in Portland, I lived in Los Angeles, and writing letters was a big part of our friendship-turned-courtship. Once we were officially dating, I started writing what I called "love letters." They were one- or two-sentence notes scrawled on scraps of paper and post-its that said things like: "L is for laughter. We laugh so hard my cheeks hurt."

I wrote a lot of those notes in our first year or two of dating. I'd slip them under Rama's door and sneak them on the dashboard of his car. I always meant to get through the whole alphabet, and last year I finally did. I thought it would be sweet to present them to Rama for our 5th anniversary in some kind of wooden box (in line with the traditional wedding anniversary guidelines that we so nerdily follow).

I wanted the box to look like it had been sitting in the attic, so I bought a vintage recipe box from Etsy and a vintage label holder at an antique hardware store. I cut alphabet dividers, using index card dividers as a template, and hand stamped the letters onto each. I typed the "love letters" label on my trusty typewriter.

I made stationery by scanning my favorite security envelope liners that I've collected over the years. The notes were laid out in Illustrator and printed on the reverse side of these patterned pages. Each note fit into a kraft coin envelope that I labeled with my amateur calligraphy. 

I was so happy with the way it turned out, and thankfully Rama was too. 


the good, the glad & the lovely : introduction

Many moons ago, I started the habit of counting my blessings. Quite literally, I would make a numbered list, from 1 to 100, of the things in my life for which I was grateful. It could be as simple as the color blue or as profound as the love of my family. When I saw those good things in my life, in black and white, there was no denying that I had a pretty good life.

I started sharing these lists online, through my site and a mailing list, several years back. Although I've since stopped sharing them publically, I've continued to record them in my sketchbook every week or so. 

I sometimes think this practice has saved my life. That's kind of an exaggeration, but it's also kind of true. I have found myself way down in the dumps, and seeking and cataloging the beauty despite it all has lifted me back up time and time again. 

I've decided to start sharing my good life, again. I'm calling this almost weekly project The Good, The Glad & The Lovely. Some weeks, it will just be a list of good things. Other times, I may feature something or someone wonderful. Once in a while, I'll post do-good missions that we can do together. It's gonna be great fun.

This week's Good, Glad & Lovely list:

- Living room dates with Rama after the kids have gone to bed.
- I have "kids," plural!
- Spur-of-the-moment get-togethers with friends.
- Any moment with my sketchbook I can get.
- The Pie Hole's maple custard pie.
- Proof Bakery's prosciutto and butter sandwich.
- The first strawberries of the season.
- Doing things that are a little bit scary and finding out it's not so bad after all.
- Henry's unabashed passion for music.
- Maira's smile.
- Clients who are "blown away."
- Making things with my hands, whether it's a card or a meal. It's so satisfying.   

What are your good things today? 


The Good, The Glad & The Lovely is an experiment in gratitude. I've been keeping lists of good things in one form or another since I was a girl. I hope you'll join me as I count the positive, accept the not-so-great, and try to do a bit of good, too. 


printable valentines for lovers & procrastinators

Valentine's Day or not, sending love notes has always been a pasttime near and dear to my heart. I've been doing it since I could handle a pair of scissors and a piece of construction paper. I made these valentines to sell many moons ago, but I thought it would be fun to give them new life as free printable notes for you and yours.

Yes, I know, Valentine's Day is already a few days away. You are probably way more together than I am, and you've already signed, sealed, and delivered your cards. But on the off chance that you're a slacker like me, feel free to use these. Just print the page on card stock, cut along the crop marks, and slip each note into an envelope (A2 sized envelopes work great).